FAO/GIEWS - Foodcrops & Shortages No.5, November 2001

SOUTH AMERICA

ARGENTINA (3 November)

The Government estimates that some 7.05 million hectares of wheat were planted this year, 9 percent more than last year. The crop, due to be harvested in the next weeks, is forecast at 17.5 million tonnes. Prospects are favourable for wheat crops due to increased plantings and favourable winter weather conditions. However, some yield losses are expected following heavy rains and moderate temperatures in September and October that are ideal conditions for fungus development. The heavy rains of spring have also delayed land preparation for the forthcoming 2002 maize crop, and planting intentions are down by 5 percent from last year.

BOLIVIA (3 November)

Planting of summer cereal crops is underway and the prospects are favourable. Water reservoir levels are increasing from spring defrosting after a particularly intense winter of heavy snowing in the highlands, where floods earlier this year damaged an estimated 40 000 hectares of crops. The departments most affected by the floods were La Paz, Cochabamba, Potosí and Chuquisaca. The food supply situation of the affected population is expected to tighten in the coming months because no crops were planted in the highlands during winter and the next harvest is not due until May. FAO is supporting the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Rural Development (MAGDR) in the provision of agricultural inputs for planting summer season crops in 1600 affected farms.

Wheat import requirements for marketing year 2001/02 (July/June) are estimated at about 300 000 tonnes.

BRAZIL (3 November)

Harvesting of wheat crops has been delayed by persistent rains, but it is anticipated that the crop will reach 3 million tonnes compared to 1.6 million tonnes in year 2000. The smaller second season maize crop (safrinha) is officially estimated at 8 million tonnes, compared to 4 million tonnes last year. Aggregate cereal production in the central and southern States of Brazil during 2001 is anticipated to increase from last year following increased plantings and favourable weather conditions. Planting of the important first season maize crop is underway. According to Brazil’s National Food Supply Company (CONAB), soybeans are likely to substitute maize crops this summer due to more favourable prices of the former. As a result, the area planted to maize to first season maize in 2002 is forecast to decrease by 12 percent relative to last year. Planting intentions of paddy crops have increased by 2 percent from last year.

Brazil is forecast to import some 7 million tonnes of wheat in marketing year 2001/02 (July/June) and 600 000 tonnes of rice in marketing year 2001 (Jan./Dec.).

CHILE (3 November)

An estimated 415 000 hectares of wheat have been planted this winter compared to some 400 000 last year. The crop is reported in good conditions despite the wet winter, and production is forecast to increase by 7 percent provided normal weather conditions prevail. Planting of maize is underway and the area is forecast to increase to 90 000 hectares from 82 000 hectares last year. Low paddy prices are not making production attractive to farmers and planting intentions are forecast to decrease 27 percent from an estimated 28 000 hectares last year.

Import requirements for marketing year 2001/02 (July/June) are estimated at 300 000 tonnes of wheat and 1.1 million tonnes of maize (mostly yellow). Rice imports in marketing year 2001 (Jan/Dec) are anticipated at 60 000 tonnes.

COLOMBIA (3 November)

A dry spell in October favoured harvesting of first season crops, and planting of second season rain-fed crops is underway. Rains are reported normal in the Orinoco and Amazon areas, but elsewhere the dry weather conditions are not favouring crop development. Harvesting of the main paddy crop was completed in October. Paddy prices are low and the government has stopped rice imports until next year to prevent prices from falling further. A UN inter-agency mission that visited the country in August concluded that population displacement has increased. The mission observed an increase in the numbers, geographical extension and political complexities of the displacement phenomenon, and insisted on the need for protection and humanitarian assistance of the affected populations.

Import requirements in marketing year 2001/02 (July/June) are forecast at 1.3 million tonnes of wheat and 2.2 million tonnes of maize.

ECUADOR (3 November)

Harvesting of the small 2001 second season coarse grain crop was complete in September and planting of the main 2002 coarse grain crop is underway. Winter rains, some 30 percent lower than normal, affected the development of 2001 second season crops in the Andean provinces of Pichincha, Tungurahua, Azuay and Chimborazo, and yields were about 20 percent lower than the average level obtained last year. In the Ecuadorian Amazon, one of the poorest areas in South America, localized floods caused by intensive rains during June totally destroyed maturing coarse grain crops of some 2200 subsistence farms. The food situation of the affected farms is expected to tighten in the next months because the next crop will not be harvested until April 2002. In August, ashes from the Tungurahua volcano forced the evacuation of approximately 20 000 people from their homes, killed some 6 000 cattle, and damaged about 48 000 hectares of pasture and crop land in the provinces of Tungurahua and Chimborazo. The international community is providing food assistance to the affected population.

Import requirements in marketing year 2001/02 (July/June) are estimated at 450 000 tonnes of wheat and 200 000 tonnes of maize.

PERU (3 November)

Planting of the first and most important season crop has started under normal spring weather conditions and is due to continue until December. The 2001 agricultural campaign is coming to a close and aggregate cereal production is forecast to increase 5 percent from last year. In the north of the country, water reservoir levels in Piura and Lambayeque are adequate for the 2002 irrigated paddy crops already being planted. In southern Peru, in the department of Puno, yields were below-average after crops were damaged by drought and heavy rains. In the departments of Arequipa, Moquegua, Tacna and Ayacucho, rural areas were hit by a strong earthquake and a tsunami wave on 23 June 2001 that damaged the irrigation system of approximately 116 000 hectares of 60 000 farmers, 2000 hectares of coastal crops and the fishing equipment of 1000 small fisher folks.

Import requirements in marketing year 2001/02 (July/June) are estimated at 1.3 million tonnes of wheat and 1 million tonnes of maize (mostly yellow).

URUGUAY (5 November)

An estimated 150 000 hectares of wheat and 115 000 hectares of barley have been planted this winter, representing an increase of 22 and 27 percent respectively from last year. Both crops developed normally during winter due to cold and rainy weather, but heavy rains in October and moderate temperatures have more recently favoured crop diseases. The heavy rains have also delayed land preparation for the forthcoming 2002 summer crops, although prospects are favourable due to the accumulated water in the soils. The area planted to paddy is forecast to decrease 7 percent from the 190 000 hectares planted last year.

VENEZUELA (5 November)

Harvesting of white maize started in July and is expected to continue until early next year. Last year white maize production increased substantially and the government was forced to intervene to sustain producer prices. This year production is forecast to remain at last year’s high level of 1.3 million tonnes. Maize prices in September were falling but the Government has since September suspended imports to allow the surplus grain to be absorbed by the industry at sustained prices for the producers.

Import requirements in marketing year 2001/02 (July/June) are expected to be around 1.3 million tonnes of wheat and 1.1 million tonnes of maize.


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